In a major development from Cricket New South Wales (NSW), it has been revealed that Australian pace bowler Lauren Cheatle will be sidelined for an unspecified period due to a recent surgery. Although her return date remains uncertain, she could return to action sooner rather than later.
Lauren had skin cancer removed from her neck on Wednesday, forcing her to withdraw from the remainder of the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) season with the NSW Breakers and the Women’s Premier League (WPL) with the Gujarat Giants scheduled for February-March 2024.
A statement from Cricket NSW confirmed, “NSW Breakers fast bowler Lauren Cheatle will miss the remainder of the domestic cricket season and the WPL after undergoing a medical procedure on her neck to remove a skin cancer yesterday. Cheatle is aiming to return to training with NSW following the players’ scheduled off-season break.”
A day out from her planned surgery, Lauren, in NSW’s game against Australian Capital Territory Meteors, produced her season-best figures of 3/18 (9.1). She picked up 11 wickets, averaging 15.45 and maintaining an economy rate of 4.11, from 5 WNCL outings this summer.
Lauren made her debut for Australia at the age of 17 in 2016 but has battled injuries and health concerns since then, including four shoulder reconstructions and back injuries. She dealt with a skin cancer scare back in 2021 and had melanoma removed from her lower leg.
Lauren Cheatle underwent a medical procedure for skin cancer.
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) February 1, 2024
Lauren’s determination has been unwavering as she despite numerous setbacks, staged a remarkable comeback, showcasing her talent during Australia ‘A’s tour of England in 2023, where she impressed with 11 wickets in five games. Her success continued in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), where she emerged as the joint-leading wicket-taker with 21 scalps in 14 matches for the Sydney Sixers.
Following her WBBL performance, Lauren returned to international cricket during Australia’s tour of India in December ’23, marking her first appearance since 2019. She made her Test debut at Wankhede and in limited opportunity, sending down just 9 overs in the Test, demonstrated her potential with the red-ball.
Although hopes were high for Lauren to secure her maiden Test wicket during Australia’s home Test against South Africa at the W.A.C.A. this month, the wait for that milestone continues.